Living in Australia

How To Network and Attend Events in Australia

You’ve arrived in Australia to work and start a new life, or you’ve just graduated from university and are new to the workforce. Or maybe you’re looking around for a change of scenery.

Regardless of your work situation, one thing that’s definitely going to help your career is the effort you put in to networking and meet other people within your industry.

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Why’s that?

One benefit of building your network is the ‘hidden job market’ – that is, jobs that are out there in the marketplace but not advertised publicly on places like seek.com.au and LinkedIn.

So if you know someone who’s looking for someone with your skills, you just might be front of mind for that new position you’re after.

Here are some ways to build up your network:

Professional Associations

Joining a relevant professional association is one of the most effective ways of networking with people in your profession to discover what’s really happening in your field. These associations often organise conferences, seminars and other industry events. If you’re still studying, student memberships may be available at a discounted rate.

Some examples of professional associations that host regular networking events include:

If you Google an association that’s relevant to your profession, you’re bound to come up with a number of options to pursue further.

Industry Meet ups, Conferences and Like Minded Groups

There are thousands of groups with likeminded people that you can find on websites like Meet Up, Women’s Network, and Eventbrite. These websites plus a number of others will list events from varied organisations within Australia, plus list informal catch ups that are organised by an individual who wants to network with people of similar interests.

You can also subscribe to corporate newsletters for events like workshops and conferences, where you can see who is speaking and the subject matter being presented. One example is Mumbrella Events which is focused on media, marketing and communications.

If you’re a small business owner or the founder of a start-up, you might be interested in the regular events that Hub Australia or Minding Her Business offer.

Other ways to stay across what’s happening is subscribing to relevant industry websites and blogs to stay connected with the latest news.

Social Media

Searching out posts on social media is always a good way to find out what’s going on in your field and city. Try joining relevant Facebook groups and undertake searches on Twitter and LinkedIn to find professionals and events in your industry. Plus you’ll be able to see what’s coming up about networking events from mutual connections or business profiles on LinkedIn. 

Word of Mouth

How about your existing network? Don’t forget about people you already know who may be able to point you in the direction like your family, colleagues and others at current and previous work places. You won’t know if you don’t ask!

How to meet people at networking events

When you do select the events you wish to attend, here are some ideas to make a professional impact with these networking tips:

  • Do your research – find out what businesses are attending a networking event so you know their context. If you know something about a business and the people who work for them, this will give you an advantage when starting up a conversation
  • Have some business cards ready – they’re a good way to remind people that they’ve met you
  • When you first meet someone, don’t dive into business or ‘shop talk’ straight away. Find out the other person’s interests and build rapport. Make it all about the other person first and they’ll be more likely to share information about themselves. Listen to what they say about themselves and what they do carefully
  • When the time is appropriate, mention what you do, your qualifications, experience, and what you’re interested in
  • If you’re asking questions, make them unique so they’re memorable. This will bring about interesting answers, but always be genuine. Bring up interesting anecdotes or facts when you can
  • It always helps to passionate about what you do, as well as being honest – bonus marks for throwing in some appropriate humour too!
  • If a meeting goes well, follow up with your new contact later on and reference something about your conversation so that it’s personalised
  • Keep records of each contact you make and stay in touch. Networking is a two way street – it’s about giving to your contacts as well as receiving from them.

Summary

Building up your network of contacts can only benefit you in the future. It’s not computers that employ people – its people who employ people!

If you build up what you know and who you know, this can only increase the opportunities that will be presented to you throughout your career and personal life.

See more at our page on overcoming workplace challenges and obstacles and how to get a job in Australia.